Topgolfgears Morning 9: Rickie’s week? | Brandel’s latest bold take | Tommy Fleetwood’s trouble

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Rickie’s week? | Brandel’s latest bold take | Tommy Fleetwood’s trouble

1. Could it be Rickie’s week?

While Gary Woodland (-6) pipped him late, Rickie Fowler’s 5-under opening round was the talk of Thursday at the PGA.
CBS’s Kyle Porter...”The 65 included just one bogey, and Fowler closed with two birdies in his final three holes (the front nine on the course as he started on the back). He hit 11-of-14 fairways and 16-of-18 greens in regulation over the course of the afternoon.”
  • “Fowler, in his words, “wore out” the fairways and greens, playing about the lowest-stress golf you can possibly play at a major championship. After going out in 1-under 34 on the back side of the course, Fowler shot a 31 on the front that included just one made putt over 10 feet. “
  • “Fowler led the field in strokes gained from tee to green and putted close to the field average. That’s great news if you’re looking for him to break through for major win No. 1 this week.”
  • “One of the things I did a good job of … is not trying to overpower it or not try and get that extra, just get the ball in the fairway and I’ve always been a good mid iron and long iron player,” Fowler said. “So you get me in the fairway and with the soft greens, I feel like we can pick apart the golf course as long as we continue to play smart and within ourselves. So now it’s all can you do is get off to a good start Thursday and we did that.”
  • On the subject of whether this will finally be his week to win a major, Fowler said…”I always have hope. I know Phil [Mickelson] didn’t win [a major] until his 30s. I don’t know the exact numbers, but it’s not something I necessarily worry about. Keep putting ourselves in position, get in contention, we have had plenty of runner-ups. Jack [Nicklaus] had a lot of runner-ups, we’ll just keep beating down that door.”
  • And if you’re sick of the “Is this the week for Rickie?” conversation, .
2. Tiger’s even-par grind
3 over par early in his round, Tiger Woods (after changing his sweaty shirt, interestingly), went 3 under over his final 16 holes.
PGATour.com’s Cameron Morfit
  • Tiger Woods was 3 over par through two holes at the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club on Thursday, but battled back to shoot an even-par 70. “It kept me in the golf tournament,” said Woods, who started on the back nine. “I could have easily gone the other way, being 3 over through two. A lot of things could happen. Not a lot of them were positive, but I hung in there and turned it around.”
  • “After being sidelined for years by various ailments, including four back surgeries, Woods is in the midst of a comeback season that has seen plenty of highs. At the Valspar Championship in just his fourth start this season, he shot four under-par rounds for the first time since THE NORTHERN TRUST in 2013. At The Open Championship at Carnoustie last month, he briefly seized the lead before struggling on the back nine and ultimately finishing T6.”
  • “Woods was not at his best again at Bellerive on Thursday. Of his 118-yard approach over water at the 11th hole, he said, “I stuck it in the ground,” coming up some 12 yards short on the way to a double-bogey 6. Still, he minimized the damage by making three birdies and no bogeys over his last 10 holes. He hit 9 of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens, and took 27 putts.”
3. PGA Hacked
“Your network has been penetrated. All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorythm [sic].” Such was the message that greeted PGA of America staffers as they attempted to access files on their computers Tuesday morning.
  • According to a Golfweek report, the PGA’s servers been hacked. Reportedly, the files in question include logos and promotional materials for the PGA Championship and the upcoming Ryder Cup.
  • The hackers’ message also included a Bitcoin wallet number (apparently for ransom, although a ransom demand was not made) and a warning that attempts to break the encryption would result in the files being deleted.
  • The PGA of America has thus far declined comment, as an investigation is ongoing. Golfweek reports an anonymous source within the PGA says the organization will not meet any ransom demands.
4. Fleetwood’s predicament
If you’ve seen any recent Tommy Fleetwood WITBs, you’ve seen Nike VR Pro Blades in the Englishman’s golf bag.
  • Fleetwood, a former Nike staffer, has been working through the sets VR Pros the company made him before it left the hard goods business in 2016.
  • Now, according to a Golf Channel report, Fleetwood is on his last set of Nike-made clubs. So, while it’s unclear how long the irons will last, it is clear Fleetwood is close to needing replacement weapons.
  • Interestingly, Fleetwood damaged the hosels of his 7 and 8-irons at the WGC-Mexico Championship earlier this year, which compelled him to put his last set of irons into the bag at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
  • While it’s unclear exactly what kind of hosel damage would be irreparable, the point remains: Fleetwood needs to figure out his next move.
GolfWRX Morning 9: Rickie’s week? | Brandel’s latest bold take | Tommy Fleetwood’s trouble
5. Brandel’s latest bold claim
Oh boy. Speaking with Dan Patrick, DP said, “Finish this thought, Brandel. ‘If Tiger doesn’t lift weights…”
  • Chamblee: “He would have won 20-plus major championships and 100-plus events. He would be hitting the ball, right now, probably as long or longer than anybody on the PGA Tour….. When he started working out – and he still managed to win the Masters, obviously in 2000, 2001, 2005 – but he was averaging along the lines of 290, 280 [yards off the tee]. Never sniffed what he was averaging when he was a kid. That sinewy, that quick-snapping speed was what he had and it was a gift. … He traded all of that speed for strength, and I think it was purely for vanity reasons.
  • “He has an obsession with perfection. Perfect golf swing, he’s changed his swing three or four times, cost him two years he did it. Changed his body because he was looking for the perfect body – who knows what that’s cost him in time and injuries and majors and tournaments.”
6. It should be illegal to be this good at two sport
Gianni Magliocco looks at Steph Curry’s impressive opening-round 71.
“Stephen Curry took the majority of fans with him around TPC Stonebrae on Thursday morning as he began the Ellie Mae Classic. It is the second consecutive year in which Curry has competed in the event, having struggled in last year’s championship. In 2017, Curry shot back to back rounds of 74 missing the cut by a distance. Playing alongside Martin Trainer and Cameron Champ, two of the top performers on the Web.com Tour this year, the NBA star set out determined to improve on his showing last year.”
“However, beginning his round on the back nine, it looked as if Curry was on his way to another disappointing round at TPC Stonebrae. The Golden State Warriors point guard only managed to hit two of his opening seven fairways on his front nine and found himself three-over par at the turn. A three-putt bogey on his eleventh hole of the day would hardly have improved his mood, but it was after this moment that the American was able to showcase his ability and mental resilience.”  
 
 
7. Blade vs. mallet?
Here’s a interesting question that may or may not have import for your golf game: what are the best golfers in the world putting with? Beyond specific models, do they prefer blade or mallet-style flatsticks?
  • Andrew Tursky found 44 percent of the top 50 used mallets. 56 percent of the top 50 players in strokes gained: putting use mallets. In other words, it’s basically a 50/50 split between mallet and blades among the game’s best.
8. Golf Digest still on the block
For what it’s worth, here’s the latest on the sale of Golf Digest, per Jeffrey Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal
  • “Condé Nast has put the titles Brides, W and Golf Digest on the market.(Chief Executive) Sauerberg said he hopes to have signed agreements for the three titles by year’s end. It’s possible that Condé could retain an interest in the golf business, depending on its future owner.”
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9. Place your bets
With round one in the books, here are your updated odds to win the the final major of the year per Westgate Las Vegas.
  • Dustin Johnson 9-2.…Rickie Fowler 6-1…Jason Day 10-1…Justin Rose 14-1…Gary Woodland 14-1…Jon Rahm 20-1…Rory McIlroy 25-1…Justin Thomas 25-1…Brooks Koepka 25-1…Francesco Molinari 25-1…Zach Johnson 25-1

GolfWRX Morning 9: Rickie’s week? | Brandel’s latest bold take | Tommy Fleetwood’s trouble

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